Targeting mobile behaviors and mindsets is a subtle game. After years of hype about location targeting and having access to consumers wherever they are, one would get the mistaken impression that mobile opens up a cornucopia of immediate, easy targets for the usual pitches. In fact, as the media get more personal, even intimate, the patterns of use become ever more idiosyncratic and hard to track.
For instance, until very recently, many advertisers blithely dismissed mobile as a tough place to convert customers because few people wanted to be interrupted in their mobile tasks and virtually no one was ready to actually buy anything on phones. But it is only with further research that it became clear many people were converting on desktop platforms only after considerable exposure and research on handsets.
The ways in which mobile weaves its way into everyday rituals puts it in a very different place from just about any other medium. Mobile exposure is the sum total of tens and scores of glances, quick look-ups, check-ins and deeper dives that go on literally from the first waking moments of the day to the last. We are only scratching the surface of mobile as a media platform and understanding what kind of experience it really is for people.
To wit, the well-regarded mobile agency Fetch (newly acquired by Dentsu Aegis) finds that while people opened apps most often in the evening during the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. prime time, that may not be the best or most efficient time to convince them to download new apps. Being in a mood to play with your apps is quite different from being in the right mindset for discovering and activating new ones.
Fetch’s new real-time data dashboard “FetchMe” aggregates anonymous data from 100 countries and over 1 billion user interactions each month. It finds that while 7 to 9 p.m. is prime time for app downloads, 1-3 p.m. is “research time” on devices. The “golden hour of research” as they call it is when it is probably most efficient for app advertisers to reach the user in order to influence a download then and there or to occur later in the day. During these hours, about 16% of those clicking on an ad will download the app, compared to about 11% during prime time.
In fact, those who make impulse downloads may not really be the best customers. In the app game, it is not just a matter of sheer downloads, although many unevolved marketers still use that metric as a lead indicator of success. What most app makes really need are quality users who don’t just install and forget. The first of Fetch’s reports on the data dashboard claims that “morning research behavior leads to high quality 'organic' downloads in the evening, making media efficiency in the morning highest in many markets.”
Being smarter about mobile ad targeting is becoming increasingly important as costs rise. Fetch reports that the average cost per install (CPI) was up 95% between January and October this year. October saw the largest month-to-month increase of the year, but that comes even before the expected holiday surge.